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WIREs Clim Change
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Climate change and human rights

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Human rights have not played a significant role in the international law and politics of climate change to date. However, there has been increasing interest among legal scholars and moral and political philosophers in a human rights approach to climate change. This review focuses on the new literature in moral and political philosophy that has begun to explore the connections between human rights and climate change. The attractions of a human rights approach to climate change are explained. The idea of a moral conception of human rights is introduced and distinguished from human rights recognized in international and national law. The key features of moral human rights are identified and an important distinction between negative and positive rights is explained. The three main arguments in the literature connecting human rights and climate change are introduced and critical discussions of them are presented. The first argument (associated with Steve Vanderheiden) claims that there is a human right to a stable climate, which can be derived from a human right to an adequate environment. The second argument (associated with Simon Caney) claims that anthropogenic climate change violates basic human (negative) rights to life, health, and subsistence. The third argument claims that there is a human right to emit greenhouse gases. This argument has two versions. The first version claims that there is a human right to equal per capita emissions. The second version claims that there is a human right to subsistence emissions. WIREs Clim Change 2013, 4:159–170. doi: 10.1002/wcc.218

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Climate, Nature, and Ethics > Climate Change and Global Justice
Climate, Nature, and Ethics > Climate Change and Human Rights
Climate, Nature, and Ethics > Ethics and Climate Change

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